Revealing the Cover for Brian Staveley’s The Emperor’s Blades

Tor.com is stoked to reveal the cover for The Emperor’s Blades, the first novel in The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a new fantasy series by Brian Staveley beginning in January 2014 and published by Tor Books.

The Emperor’s Blades follows siblings Valyn, Kaden, and Adare, who are in different parts of the world when they learn about the assassination of their father, the Emperor. All of them are in danger of being the next targets, and all of them are caught in the maelstrom of conspiracy, intrigue, treachery, and magic that sweeps through Staveley’s auspicious debut novel.

See the full cover by artist Richard Anderson below and read Staveley’s thoughts on seeing it for the first time.

The Emperor's Blades Cover Reveal Brian Staveley

Brian Staveley on the cover: Getting ready to see your new cover is like sitting at the bar waiting for your blind date to show. Your editor set it all up, assuring you that you’re going to be crazy about the match; you’ve seen a few little thumbnail photos on line; but still… while etiquette suggests you can politely leave a blind date after two beers, your cover is going to be your cover for a very long time.

All the same questions crop up: What if we have nothing in common? What if the cover doesn’t get me? What if it’s cooler than I am? (Well, you want it to be cooler, actually, but no so much cooler that you feel like a loser.) Then there’s the whole question of personal taste. You might be hoping for a brunette with tattoos, but a debutante sits down at the table instead.

I try not to be superficial, but when Richard Anderson’s stunning cover finally sidled up to the bar, my first thought was that she was, well… gorgeous. Didn’t pay much attention, at first, to whether we had anything in common—I just stared and stared, trying to keep my mouth closed.

Only later, when my heart had had a chance to settle and my palms stopped sweating, did I realize just how well she understood me. She got my interest in non-western cultures. She was hip to my need for a good mix of the physical and the spiritual, the martial and the political. And, like me, she realized that there’s no substitute for an enormous, man-killing bird of prey.

It’s a happy, romantic ending all around, except maybe for my wife, who sometimes has to tell me to put away the damn cover already and come to bed.

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